Democrat Rep. Brian Sims May Have Broken State Law Videotaping Pro-Life Woman He Harassed

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 6, 2019   |   12:49PM   |   Washington, DC

Democrat state legislator Brian Sims of Pennsylvania may have broken state law as he videotaped a pro-life woman he subjected to harassment and bullying.

Sims is coming under heavy criticism today for his weekend videotaping of him subjecting an older pro-life woman to racist and sexist comments and several minutes of targeted harassment as she attempted to speak with women outside a local Planned Parenthood abortion clinic about alternatives.

The Pennsylvania lawmaker may have broken state law videotaping the woman, whom he attempted to doxx by soliciting her address and information from viewers. Sims hoped to post information about her online so abortion advocates would show up to her house and protest her and potentially subject her to violence.

Reportedly, Pennsylvania law requires two-party consent to videotape. The pro-life woman Sims bullied not only did not provide her consent to be videotaped but also repeatedly told him to stop taping her and to leave her alone, which he refused to do.

SIGN THE PETITION: Rep. Brian Sims Should Resign for Harassing Pro-Life Woman

Here’s more:

Pennsylvania Democratic State Rep. Brian Sims thought it his duty to videotape and harass a pro-life woman protesting against abortion outside a Planned Parenthood clinic in his district, repeatedly telling the unnamed woman he had the same constitutional right to film as she did to protest. While Americans have the right to record protesters in Pennsylvania, the state also has a strict a two-party consent state, meaning even in public both parties involved in a conversation must give consent to be audio or video recorded. At various points in the video, Rep. Sims indicates he wants to have a conversation, to each time the women says no and does not give permission to record.

At approximately 4:08 the woman begins to leave the vicinity of the Planned Parenthood area and Sims says, “Actually let’s keep walking down the block. We can talk about this. We can talk about your Christian faith, about how your Christian faith believes in shaming people.” The woman clearly does not want to talk and says “Get out of my way” and “get your camera out of my face” indicating she does not consent to the conversation he wants to have nor to being recorded in public. Sims says, “no, no” and continues to berate the woman for nearly 9 minutes.

According to the ACLU, in Pennsylvania “You have a right to capture images in public places, but you don’t always have a right to record what people say. Pennsylvania’s Wiretap Law makes it illegal to record private conversations – which can include conversations in public places – without the consent of all parties to the conversation.”  However, you legally can record protesters in public spaces.

But, given the fact the woman in the video was leaving the Planned Parenthood area, was not spouting anti-abortion rhetoric at the time Rep. Sims asked to “Talk”, and she declined Rep. Sims the right to record their conversation, a good attorney might be able to sue Rep. Sims for breaking PA’s wiretap law.

In fact, Pennsylvania makes it a crime to intercept or record a telephone call or conversation unless all parties to the conversation consent. See Title 18, Part II, Article F, Chapter 57, Subchapter B of 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5703

The law does not cover oral communications when the speakers do not have an “expectation that such communication is not subject to interception under circumstances justifying such expectation.” But the pro-life woman was not engaging in a consensual conversation at the time of the recording.

Sims could also be found guilty of violating cyberbullying laws since he posted the video online.

Cyberbullying may be charged as harassment if  the defendant communicated with the victim in a threatening way with the intent to alarm or annoy the victim. (18 Pa. Con. Stat. Ann. § 2709.) Cyberbullying may also be charged as stalking when the underlying behavior includes repeated acts that show an intent by the bully to put the victim in fear of bodily injury or serious emotional distress. (18 Pa. Con. Stat. Ann. § 2709.1.)

Whether he broke the law or not, Sims clearly violated this pro-life woman’s right to privacy — by attempting to doxx her — which is supposedly sacred ground for abortion advocates. Either way, Sims should resign immediately and be held accountable by the state legislature for his actions.